Timely Microsoft reality check
Before Brian McAndrews agreed to take charge of a crucial piece of Microsoft Corp.'s online advertising business, he insisted on a key condition: that he be granted certain power over the engineering part of the operation.
The new job didn't have to include that authority, but Mr. McAndrews, new to the company, argued that to succeed in his mandate -- leading the charge against Google Inc. -- he needed it. And in Microsoft's engineering-driven culture, such a team could promise something else for Mr. McAndrews: longevity as a Microsoft executive.
That Microsoft granted his request illustrates a new approach Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is taking as he tries to expand the Redmond, Wash., company into new areas from online music to videogames to Internet advertising. Mr. Ballmer has found he must tap outsiders rather than rely so heavily on homegrown managers as in the past.